Traffic, Driving and Crossing the road, London
Who would think that they all drive on the wrong side of the road `-)
The first hours walking and crossing the street is really hazardous when you are used that every one is driving at the right side, not the wrong mmm sorry not the left side !
So be really very careful when you cross the streets that you look at the right directions to see the traffic coming.
For "dumb foreigners" they have been so kind to paint the cross-the-street-instructions on the road.
I must say I feel great gratitude because I am convinced it must have saved my life a couple of times!
Obviously, if you are at traffic lights or in slow traffic, then this doesn't apply!
If you are on a Red Route (two red double lines - see the picture), then do not stop, and definitely don't park (see my previous two warnings for the consequences).
I believe the latest fine is £100 and that is before the clamping or towing fee. This is taken very seriously as they are painted on roads in the most congested parts of London that are considered important to keep the traffic moving on.
If you are driving you need to be aware that there are lots of speed cameras in London, and also in many other parts of the UK.
However the good news is that due to a rather bizarre law, a fixed speed camera needs to painted in bright luminous colours to stand out so that drivers can see it. Road signs warning of the camera also need to be posted up.
In this picture you can see the warning sign, the speed limit (this is in miles an hour - 30 mph is approx 50 km/h). There is a little bit of leeway, but only a little so don't chance it!
Penalty is a fine and points on your license, although if you are from abroad you may not get the points.
The other thing to be aware of is that most speed cameras photograph you once you have gone past them. There are also extra clues as they paint white lines on the road every foot or so. This is used as a extra check as 2 pictures are taken with a fixed delay between the two, and the distance travelled can also be measured should there be any dispute.
If you drive in the centre of London on a particular day, you must pay a Congestion charge of £5. If you have not paid by 10 pm on the end of that day, you will get a fine. It is an additional £5 if you pay between 10pm and midnight. If you haven't paid by midnight, you will get a fine of £100, which is reduced to £50 if you pay it promptly. If it is not paid, the charge keeps going up!
I prefer not to drive into the centre of London not only for this reason, but also because it is very expensive to park, and also difficult to find parking.
The congestion charge is only payable between Monday to Friday between 7am and 6:30 pm
There are very clear markings on the roads to show where the congestion charge operates. The controlled area is full of cameras with number plate recognition, so your chances of escaping with not having to pay are virtually zero.
I really stood gazing at this jam can !
I think it is a marvelous warning tip. I could not help but to make a picture of it.
Honour to the one who desinged this poster!
It is a great mixture of visual and lingual humour providing a deadly serious warning given with a whink.
If you as a pedestrian is used to right-hand traffic it might be dangerous to cross the road in UK were they have left-hand traffic. The good thing though is that on most places in London you can just read on the road to see in which direction to look before crossing the road.
I'm sure a few American tourists have narrowly escaped being flattened by a big red bus by ignoring the signs printed on the street telling them to Look Right then Look Left.
Alternatively, you can just look in both directions like we did just to make sure nothing is coming to flatten you. Perhaps that's from years of experience with bike messengers in Chicago who never travel in the right direction.
If you drive a car into central London (see map) or hire a car, then you are liable to pay Uncle Ken's congestion charge (even if buffon Boris runs the place these days). It operates Monday-Friday in the day and costs TEN QUID a day. (7AM - 6PM)
There are several ways of paying it - so look at the listed website.
Some car hire companies like Easycar collect the charge on your behalf - but you must declare to them the days you use it, or you will face some pretty large fines ; and remember that they have your credit card details.
I think everybody knows that you drive on the "wrong side" off the road but it´s easy to forget as we have our natural rutines to look left first before you cross the street. So the English people were so kind to write on the crossings "look right". To remind you. It was really confusing at first but you make a habbit of it.
Whilst static speed cameras have to be painted bright colours so you can see them in britain, I do not believe this to be the case for Traffic Light Cameras.
A Traffic Light Camera will capture your image if you jump a red light (I believe some of them can trigger on speed too!).
Britain is not a good place for a motorist, cars tend to cost more than many other places (it's an island, so it is harder to source vehicles from elsewhere!). There are also lots of fines for motorists, so take care!
There is a different trafic direction in England if compare to all Europe. Reverse sides. It's easier for pedestrians at the center of London. You'll find painted white notes on the streets: "LOOK RIGHT" or "LOOK LEFT". That was funny:)
Duck! These shiny red double-decker buses can really motor in the narrow lanes of central London and their passenger-side mirrors hang well out over the curb. To make things worse, as North Americans, we occasionally forget the direction the traffic moves. I don't know how many times on a daily basis I almost got clocked in the back of the head by one of these mirrors. One brushed through my hair once. I've heard stories of people tapping a bus mirror for fun with their hand as it went by and receiving a broken wrist as a result; a hit by one of these to your noggin' could send you flying and result in serious trauma. So, be careful if you're over 6 feet tall! Try not to walk near the curb edge and remember the danger that lurks behind you.
If you're used to nice flat, even footpaths/pavements/sidewalks (whatever you want to call them), as I am being from Australia, then it may pay to consciously lift your feet a little higher than normal in London - or, I guess, in any European city - I found myself tripping up several times in the 2 weeks I was there, and that's not usual for me!
Luckily I only actually fell down once, but I think that was more to do with the fact I was wearing sandals and making a mad dash out of Wimbledon to catch my flight back home....
London has about 150 pedestrian FATALITIES a year. That number does not include all the head injuries, broken bones and internal injuries caused by people being struck by vehicles in this congested city. If you look down on most crosswalks you will see the words ‘LOOK LEFT’ and ‘LOOK RIGHT’. This is not just child’s play. Chances are you are from a country where they drive cars on the right side of the road. Here we drive on the left and often too fast. So ALL vehicles are coming from the direction you are looking away from. You are probably only here for a short stay. Please stop and read. It could save your life. I have lived in the UK for 12 years and I still find myself looking the wrong way.
Speed Cameras are evil. There is no reasoning with them and they do work, all too effectively. There are about 6,000 speed cameras on UK roads – and the numbers are growing. They are both fixed and mobile. At the very least you usually do get a waning sign. If you do see a camera sign, SLOW DOWN!
Below are the different types of mechanical beasts that they use to drive up your motoring and insurance costs:
Sited at the road side, Gatso speed cameras use radar technology to measure speed and a photo of the back of the vehicle is taken. There are markings on the road to do this. Can only see from behind, so you could say someone else was driving.
Sited at the road side, forward facing Truvelo speed cameras use loops in the road to trigger when a speed limit is exceeded. Takes a frontal picture. They can see the drivers face. You are so caught!
Sited on yellow overhead gantries, it measures your average speed between 2 points. Warning signs say AVERAGE SPEED CHECK. If you go past one or 2 cameras, pull over on the hard shoulder and say you had warning lights coming on.
On the road side, Peek speed cameras use loops in the road to trigger when the speed limit is exceeded. They are rear facing and a bit rare outside of London and the south. You can say someone else was driving.
On the road side, Speedcurb speed cameras use loops in the road to trigger when a speed limit is exceeded.
On the road side, Watchman speed cameras use radar technology to measure speed, a photo of the rear of the vehicle is taken. You can claim someone else was driving. These are often paired with a speed display board you can see and covers a long distance. Slow down!
On the road side, Traffic Light cameras are mainly used to enforce red lights. Go over the white line and you will get zapped. These systems can also be used in the same way as a Gatso and the government is looking to make many of these detect speed during green lights. Rear facing, you can lie.